The Football Association of Wales has appointed Lee Evans to the position of Match Officials Manager with the FIFA Referee starting in his new role from 31 January 2022.
Evans will step down from the JD Cymru Premier Referees List at the end of January to take up this new position.
“I’m thrilled to come into this role during an exciting time for the FAW,” Evans said of his appointment. “With the FAW’s Our Wales strategy providing the vision for football between now and 2026, I’m really motivated to help guide and develop refereeing and put into practice what I have learned and experienced over the years.”
Evans began his refereeing career in 1989 before joining the Cymru Premier List as an Assistant Referee in 2002. He was soon appointed to the FIFA Assistant Referee List before eventually making the FIFA Referee List in 2007, just two years after becoming a Referee on the Cymru Premier.
In 2011, Evans was promoted to Category 1 UEFA Status, which saw him appointed to UEFA Europa League group stage matches in addition to Men’s FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO qualifying matches.
“I’m looking forward to putting my own stamp on the role,” Evans added. “To implement new ideas for development, professionalism, recruitment and uniformity is something that excites me about the position.
“It’s natural progression from refereeing for over 30 years to becoming the Match Officials Manager as it keeps me within the refereeing world, which is something I love and am so passionate about.”
Evans is keen to highlight the benefits of becoming a match official, which can provide skills, abilities and new experiences.
“Refereeing gives you that sense of belonging as a part of the game even if you’re not a player,” he explains. “You build confidence, team work, camaraderie and new-found friendships. It gives you a sense of belonging.
“I have so many wonderful memories from my time as a referee with the highlight being the 2007 Welsh Cup Final. Your dream and goal when you start to referee is to reach a national cup final. It’s an honour in any association.”
In terms of the experiences that refereeing has given him, Evans said: “Refereeing some high profile national teams such as France, Spain, Netherlands and others is always special. As was becoming the first Welsh referee to officiate in a UEFA Europa League group game with a team of six welsh match officials in front of 76,000 spectators.”
Evans however, is fully aware of the challenge in front of him and he simply sums it up in the most simplest of ways, “Without referees there are no matches.” Therefore, his first task will be to appoint someone to the new full-time Referee Recruitment and Retention position that will assist in increasing the number of referees throughout Wales.
If you’d like to find out more on how to become a referee, visit BecomeaRef.wales for more information and start your journey from the comfort of your own home.